- Created on 14 October 2013
State Rep. Ken Dunkin hosted a benefit for his re-election campaign Oct. 10. He is the chief co-sponsor of the marriage equality bill. He's pictured here with fellow reps at the event, from left: Dunkin, Christian Mitchell (South Side), Greg Harris (North Side, chief sponsor) and Derrick Smith (West Side). Photo by Tracy Baim
While the Illinois
- Created on 14 October 2013
They're experienced research engineers and park rangers still in college, attorneys who enforce environmental regulations and former soldiers who took civilian jobs with the military after coming home from war.
And all of them have one thing in common: They were sent home on unpaid furlough last week after a political standoff between the president and Congress forced a partial shutdown of the federal government. More than 800,000 federal workers were affected at first, though the Pentagon has since recalled most of its idled 350,000 employees.
What these sidelined government employees are doing with their spare time varies as widely as the jobs they perform. Some are tightening their budgets at home, watching what they spend on food and other necessities, fearing it could be weeks before they earn another paycheck. Others are having a tough time keeping their workplace projects shelved and agency emails unread.
While Congress and the White House work on a deal to ensure furloughed workers receive back pay once the shutdown ends, some expenses can't be put off, whether it's replacing a broken furnace for $6,500 or buying diapers for a baby due before the month ends.
Here are the stories of just a few of the government workers directly affected by the shutdown.
As the government shutdown began its second week, Donna Cebrat was focused on stretching each dollar of her savings under the assumption she might not be able to return to work for a month or longer.
"Instead of having a dinner, I'll have a bowl of cereal. Maybe for dinner and lunch. Or maybe I'll go down to McDonald's for a hamburger off the dollar menu," said Cebrat, 46, who works for the FBI at its office in Savannah, Ga. "Lots of budget cuts. Not that I was living extravagantly before."
Cebrat makes her living processing requests for public access to FBI records made under the Freedom of Information Act. She lives alone in a middle-class suburb and estimates the money in her savings account could last her anywhere from two to six months.
She checks headlines for any news on negotiations between the president and Congress, but said she avoids reading full stories or watching shutdown reports on TV that would only bring her down further.
"I don't need to see the name-calling," Cebrat said. "I just need to see the headline."
Otherwise Cebrat has spent her days sanding and repainting her bathroom walls - a new tub, toilet and vanity will have to wait until next year - and taking walks in her neighborhood. She's avoided trips to the mall or the movies.
- Created on 14 October 2013
Dennis Kimetto Breaks Course Record To Win 2013 Chicago Marathon, Rita Jeptoo Wins Women's Race (PHOTOS)
CHICAGO -- CHICAGO (AP) — Dennis Kimetto of Kenya broke the course record Sunday in capturing the Chicago Marathon, and compatriot Rita Jeptoo was the women's winner in the first major marathon in the United States since the Boston bombings.
Kimetto finished in 2 hours, 3 minutes, 45 seconds, leading a 1-2-3 finish for Kenyan men. He beat the mark of 2:04:38 set by Ethiopia's Tsegaye Kebede last year. He pulled away from Emannuel Mutai over the last few miles and was all alone with both arms raised as he crossed the finish line.
It was his second major victory this year to go with a win at Tokyo in February.
Before the race, there was a 30-second moment of silence to honor the victims of the Boston bombings.
Mutai (2:03:52), the 2011 London winner, also beat Kebede's time but finished seven seconds off the lead. Sammy Kitwara (2:05:16) was third.
Jeptoo followed up her victory at Boston by easily taking the women's raise, finishing in 2:19:57 after losing in a sprint a year ago. There was no one near Jeptoo as she turned into Grant Park, wearing a wide grin and waving to the crowd.
Jemima Sumgong Jelegat of Kenya (2:20:48) was second, followed by Maria Konovalova of Russia (2:22:46).
The winners each earned $100,000. Kimetto gets an additional $75,000 for the course record, while Jeptoo gets another $40,000 for finishing under 2:20:00.
On a sunny day with the forecast calling for temperatures to hit the high 50s when the top runners finished, conditions were close to ideal. But there was a different feel to this event in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, which killed three people and injured more than 260 others.
Police promised heightened security. More than a thousand uniformed and undercover officers and more bomb-sniffing dogs were expected to mix with the crowd along a course winding through 29 neighborhoods. Officers inside a command post were monitoring pictures coming in from helicopters and the city's 22,000 cameras, the most extensive surveillance system in the nation.
The Department of Homeland Security designated the marathon a "level two" event, a notch below massive gatherings such as the Super Bowl, which meant more federal agents with their own high-tech monitoring equipment.
Runners also saw changes.
They only used clear plastic bags issued by organizers to store their belongings near the finish line. They had to pick up their own packets, with race bibs and tracking devices, rather than friends or family.
Kimetto and Mutai started to surge ahead around the 19th mile, only to have fellow Kenyans Sammy Kitwara and Micah Kogo stayed with them. They faded after the group passed through Chinatown. Kimetto ultimately took control over the last few miles.
The world record of 2:03:23 was in sight, set by Wilson Kipsang of Kenya in Berlin two weeks ago. But ultimately, Kimetto settled for the course mark.
The 32-year-old Jeptoo had it easy down the stretch this time. Last year, she traded leads with Atsede Baysa of Ethiopia down the stretch and lost a step.
Six months later, Jeptoo won her second Boston Marathon, a victory that was overshadowed by tragedy.
- Created on 11 October 2013
CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago's new speed cameras have clocked almost 205,000 violations in just over a month.
An analysis by WBEZ (http://bit.ly/1cDxrR1 ) shows the cameras in nine safety zones logged the speeding violations between Aug. 26 and Oct. 3.
The cameras are only issuing warnings to drivers, but fines will be levied starting later this month. If the violations had been tickets, they could have generated nearly $13.9 million for the city in just 39 days.
That's on pace to be well above the $40 million to $60 million in extra revenue forecast by Mayor Rahm Emanuel for next year.
But the larger-than-expected number of citations is prompting criticism from some who say the cameras are more about making money for the city than protecting children and pedestrians.
Information from: WBEZ-FM.